For business, the social media revolution was just the beginning
by CraigColgan, Performer
- Created: January 7, 2010, 10:16 am
- Updated: February 8, 2011, 6:19 pm
The Web has found its killer-app, and it is social media.
No question about it. In the decade of the 'aughts,' business learned that their customers are using the Internet in a way that puts sharing and socializing front and center, instead of what many thought the whole point would be: assembling and displaying vast piles of pretty but unconnected content. This was a shock. Should it have been?
Regardless, many businesses want to make up for any lost time. Businesses are racing to social media, learning as much as they can as fast as they can. Facebook has been embraced by small business in 2009. Twitter fans know that its most-criticized feature -- its 140-character-posting limitation -- matters not one bit. Because the point is to be social. Which happens best when your contributions to the party are brief and add value. Share smart stuff. And understand there is great value in silence. Listening is the great misunderstood benefit of social media. So the lesson learned about the Web at the end of the decade: It's not the content. It's the community. Is this the revolution that the Web had long promised, for individuals, groups, government, and business? I think it is.
Businesses know that they were beaten to this realization by consumers. Figuring out how to catch up, how to join that vast, always-on discussion is business's current challenge. The past year was important historically. For business, 2009 was the year of learning. And the media noticed. Time magazine offered '10 ways Twitter will change business.' * Canada's CTVnews.com provides a great wrap-up* for Twitter's impact to date. One example in that piece points to the two ways engaging in social media brings value: the direct way, and the indirect way. The direct way is answering tweets directly. The indirect way is to 'foster goodwill.' Which means joining the swirl in a more conversational way. Business are learning these distinctions, and learning to find success in this still very new space. David Carr, media critic for the New York Times*, wrote: 'At first, Twitter can be overwhelming, but think of it as a river of data rushing past that I dip a cup into every once in a while.'
So what is the Internet trend for the new decade that business needs to embrace right away, to avoid playing catch-up all over again? The answer is mobile. That will be the next platform for all business to exploit. Small, local businesses most of all. The world in your Web-enabled phone. New applications will arrive, and Twitter and Facebook and your company Web site or blog will change. Maybe there will be more video. Maybe it will all be faster and smarter. Maybe more stuff will be sold through the Web itself than anybody thought possible. Maybe we will all have more robust knowledge of our customers and potential customers because of the Web. Maybe privacy issues will be fixed. We will all find out soon enough.
*Hyperlink goes to a non-government website.
Message Edited by CraigColgan on 01-07-2010 11:38 AM
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